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The Great IMTU Poll, Part IV

Starship Automatation


  • Total voters
    91

Golan2072

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Starship Automation

au++ TL is sufficiently advanced that NO ONE need EVER crew a starship, unless it's just on the off chance of someone whacking the ship computers.

au+ Starship automation is commonplace.

au Starship automation is in the trial phases, and has bugs to work out, or is quite expensive.

au- Starship automation doesn't work (for whatever reason).

au-- Terrible things happen when the referee allows it!

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Life Support

ls++ Life support is very expensive and very difficult to work on!

ls+ Life support is expensive and difficult to work on.

ls Life support can be do-it-yourself with off-the-shelf components.

ls- Life support is a fraction of the cost published.

ls-- Life support is absorbed in other misc expenses.

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Other Great IMTU Polls: I, II, III, V
 
au: In 1248, most computers are not advanced enough to become real AIs, and most people won't like the idea of putting vital systems within the easy reach of a Virus. The exception to this are Cyms ("sane" Virii), functioning as both an AI and an anti-Virus system. However, Cyms aren't that common, and many polities don't trust them much (to say the least).

ls: Life support costs as much as in LBB2, but I allow hydroponics, which drive down the price and tonnage of life support material considerably.
 
au+ in the standard TU when playing TNE it drops down to au-- In either case, true AIs are exceedingly rare what happens is that you have pseudo reality personae running ships.

ls+ although it is expensive, it part of the berthing costs.
 
God, I feel so... unoriginal. So far in these polls I've always sided with the majority. Hopefully this will change when we get to the various aliens.
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I put in that (au)is possible but difficult and often unreliable.

Life support can be off the shelf (With hydroponics to supplement the system) but costly because many parts are unique to each ship type...
 
In these, I went with the bog standard stuff. Some automation exists, but not enough to endanger the role of characters flying ships and having adventures. Too much automation, and there goes some of my adventuring capabilities.

The mid-range option on life support also allows for great adventuring opportunities, without taking up too much of the spotlight over the course of the campaign.

For me, the options selected are all about providing a world consistent with the kind of adventure opportunities that I want to have. YMMV.

Hope this helps,
Flynn
 
au: By law, all flying vessels (and vehicles of TL9+) have autopilots that interface with traffic control networks for safety over high-tech, high-pop worlds, but trained Pilots are still required to babysit the process. Sentient Gunners are required, by design, on all weapon systems as per the Imperial Rules of War (and common-sense) prohibitions on warbots. Remote-control systems are sometimes used at close-enough ranges where signal lag is not an issue.

ls: It's easy, and can be stocked many months in advance (displacing extra space, if necessary). For those with some displacement (and "seed money" -- ha ha) to spare, closed systems exist (hydroponics bays, et cetera) which use no more power per supported person than a low berth, and once started, can be maintained nearly indefinitely by a ship's Gardener.
 
au+ (auotmation is integral, so integral it's not even considered. robots/droids can replace skill-1 crew functions but higher skill functions are more expensive. Navigation is the one thing that is near impossible to automate except on the most well known and mapped routes. Ships are just too valuable though to give over to complete automation.)

ls- (really easy and cheap. but you get what you pay for. advanced chemistry and materials makes O2/CO2 conversion easy. your emergency/base air comes as a brick in a can and so does your food. now if you want fresh food instead of processed food brick, it costs much more and takes a lot of space.)
 
au: When starships become automated, they become NPCs, with all the care + feeding baggage that accompanies self-aware things. They are usually* reliable.

When robots are keen enough to take over crew posts, they effectively become NPC slaves; instead of salaries, they have mortgage and upkeep costs, and have personalities. They're solid performers, not star performers, and are usually* reliable.

* Example of rarely unreliable behavior:

Dave: "Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
HAL: "I'm sorry Dave; I'm afraid I can't do that."
 
"au+" This is the future, dangit! Orbital mechanics is just math...
"ls-" This is the future, dangit! We breathe air and drink water and eat food...
 
I like how the vote distribution is roughly a bell curve. That tells me that I probably framed the issue correctly.
 
When robots are keen enough to take over crew posts, they effectively become NPC slaves...

A key point is the *level* of automation.

IMTU, I presume everything that flies at TL9+ has a drone autopilot function that lets it control itself in response to commands from air traffic control (and yes, there are security and authentication protocols to resist hacking and spoofing), but it is quite a different matter to install a robot pilot to fly the ship fully autonomously. Such pilots will still need a skipper to command them, or else The Black Fleet, et cetera.

IRL, some of the latest cruise ships coming out of Europe are so sophisticated that they can be given a week's worth of commands -- an entire cruise's worth of navigation and maneuvering -- by the captain rolling a trackball on the arm of the conn and clicking once on a single menu item.

But somebody still needs to sit in the chair and give the command; the ship will not start moving on its own otherwise.

Which is as things should be, of course.
 
Yes, good point.

I see I had failed to note that once an automation becomes a replacement for a person, it itself is likely to be a "person", and therefore work for compensation.
 
au++. automation is easy, cheap, efficient, bug free, popular, and works great ...

... until something goes wrong. then it's an absolute train wreck. no intelligent responses, just algorithms applied whether they are appropriate or not, mass wreckage, mass casualties, robots running around verbalizing psychologist-approved calming phrases that may or may not be relevant. virus, writ small.

so automation becomes highly UN-popular. laws get passed. "There Will Be Pilots." au--.
 
... until something goes wrong. then it's an absolute train wreck. no intelligent responses, just algorithms applied whether they are appropriate or not, mass wreckage, mass casualties, robots running around verbalizing psychologist-approved calming phrases that may or may not be relevant. virus, writ small.

so automation becomes highly UN-popular. laws get passed. "There Will Be Pilots." au--.

There is a balance that must be struck.

The case study is Air France 447. The aircraft autopilot, due to a design flaw in the pitot tube interface, malfunctioned under icing conditions. The flight crew spent the last 11 minutes or so of their lives trying to diagnose and fix the autopilot malfunction and resolve a cascade failure in the control system instead of flying the plane manually under reduced instrumentation.

The captain even corrected the problem a couple of times (stick forward a bit to reduce angle of attack and throttle up a bit to gain more airspeed until the altimeter stops plunging), but went back to trusting an obviously-broken-and-stuck airspeed indicator instead of the stall warning screaming in his ears. Bad design and testing + inadequate crew training in emergency procedures + blind faith in automated systems by everyone involved = prang.

Besides, a starship with an autonomous, self-commanding robot pilot -- or worse, gunner -- aboard is a de facto warbot and the Imperial Rules of War frown upon such things (IMTU, even down to the level of minefields).
 
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Besides, a starship with an autonomous, self-commanding robot pilot -- or worse, gunner -- aboard is a de facto warbot and the Imperial Rules of War frown upon such things (IMTU, even down to the level of minefields).

And that's the fun part of a game.
 
Besides, a starship with an autonomous, self-commanding robot pilot -- or worse, gunner -- aboard is a de facto warbot and the Imperial Rules of War frown upon such things

in the end it comes down to one question - who is in control? with au/ai, the humans are not in control. period. and humans will never accept that.
 
in the end it comes down to one question - who is in control? with au/ai, the humans are not in control. period. and humans will never accept that.

Heck, I'll never set foot aboard a Liner piloted by a Vargr, much less an android. No Sir.
 
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